Malalgoda, Chamindi, Amaratunga, Dilanthi and Haigh, Richard (2011) Empowering local governments to make disaster resilient cities. In: International Conference on Building Resilience 2011: Interdisciplinary approaches to disaster risk reduction, and the development of sustainable communities and cities, 19-21st July 2011, Kandalama, Sri Lanka..

Disasters either natural or man-made cause a significant impact to the entire world. The occurrence of
natural disasters has increased significantly in the recent past resulting a higher number of mortalities
and economic and social losses. It is evident that the impacts and severity of natural disasters are
linked to the unplanned urban development. Due to rapid urbanisation and population growth the
cities are becoming increasingly vulnerable to disasters. Therefore there is a high need for disastersustainable
urban areas in today's context, incorporating proper risk reduction mechanisms to make
cities resilient for future disasters. This requires a serious effort of various stakeholders including
governmental and non-governmental institutions. The local governments being the first responder and
the one responsible for community development, has a key role to play in achieving society's
resilience to disasters and to ensure the resilience of the cities under their jurisdiction.
Even though there is a growing concern among the researchers and practitioners on the role of the
local governments in making cities resilient to disasters and contributing for the development of
disaster resilient cities, several incidents have been reported on the inadequate contribution of local
governments in taking the lead role of disaster risk reduction initiatives. This could mainly be
attributed to inadequate financial, manpower and other resources available with local governments,
lack of willpower and their failure to make timely decisions due to lack of authority. This has
emphasised the need for empowering local governments with improved governance structure and the
need for developing capacities to lead the concept of resilience in their respective local areas.
Therefore the aim of this research is to develop a framework to empower the local governments to
make cities resilient to disasters within the context of built environment and accordingly this paper is
focussed on emphasising the need for empowering the local governments.
In this context, this paper highlights the need for empowering the local governments and identifies
the ways and means of achieving this in the development of the society's resilience to natural disasters. The literature review technique is used to address this potential issue and the findings are
justified through various literature gathered from research papers in electronic databases along with
conference proceedings and reports published by various institutions.

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